Urbanization impacts on flood risks based on urban growth data and coupled flood models
Urbanization increases regional impervious surface area, which generally reduces hydrologic response time and therefore increases flood risk. The objective of this work is to investigate the sensitivities of urban flooding to urban land growth through simulation of flood flows under different urbanization conditions and during different flooding stages. A sub-watershed in Toronto, Canada, with urban land conversion was selected as a test site for this study. In order to investigate the effects of urbanization on changes in urban flood risk, land use maps from six different years (1966, 1971, 1976, 1981, 1986, and 2000) and of six simulated land use scenarios (0%, 20%, 40%, 60, 80%, and 100% impervious surface area percentages) were input into coupled hydrologic and hydraulic models. The results show that urbanization creates higher surface runoff and river discharge rates and shortened times to achieve the peak runoff and discharge. Areas influenced by flash flood and floodplain increases due to urbanization are related not only to overall impervious surface area percentage but also to the spatial distribution of impervious surface coverage. With similar average impervious surface area percentage, land use with spatial variation may aggravate flash flood conditions more intensely compared to spatially uniform land use distribution.
Feng, Boyu; Zhang, Ying; Bourke, Robin
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